You sunk my battleship! Canadian forces use live torpedo for first time

Submarine HMCS Victoria continues its field readiness exercises

HMCS Victoria sent a U.S. navy ship to the bottom of the Pacific Ocean on Tuesday with a precisely aimed war shot.

It was the first time in history that Canadian Forces fired a live torpedo in a training exercise. Victoria successfully fired an MK48 Heavyweight Torpedo on USNS Concord, which had been decommissioned for the purpose.

“It’s a unique opportunity that we have through RIMPAC (Rim of the Pacific Exercise) to actually do live fire, with a target made ready for such an event,” said Capt. (Navy) Luc Cassivi, Chief of Operations for Maritime Forces Pacific and Director Canadian Submarine Force.

While the sailors train for months using “torpedoes” decked out with technical equipment, there’s nothing like using real ammunition to know you’re doing it right, he said.

“(This) gives us full validation that everything is working accurately – that it does what’s expected at the moment.”

Roughly 1,400 Canadian sailors, soldiers, and airmen and airwomen are participating in RIMPAC 2012, with combined and joint exercises taking place near the Hawaiian Islands until Aug. 3.

RIMPAC offers senior members of the Canadian Forces the opportunity to assume positions of leadership, enhancing Canada’s ability to work with other nations of the Asia-Pacific region.

“RIMPAC provides the Royal Canadian Navy with ample opportunities to enhance our war-fighting skills and increase our interoperability with our coalition partners,” said Vice-Admiral Paul Maddison, commander of the Royal Canadian Navy. “Each nation benefits from the collective diversity of military training and experience of the other participants while completing their own training objectives and increasing their own level of proficiency.”

Firing the torpedo was a milestone for the crew, Cassivi said. “It’s an event in which a lot of local people can be proud. Contractors, technical teams who looked after the Victoria’s refit; everyone who supported the sea trials and (training) in Nanoose.”

The Concord was a Mars-class combat stores ship commissioned in 1968, decommissioned and transferred to Military Sealift Command in 1992 and deactivated in 2009. It was environmentally certified before the Canadian Forces spent the day firing on it from both sea and air. The torpedo firing was the “culminating event of the day,” Cassivi said.

editor@oakbaynews.com